When I heard this I checked the date to see if it was April Fool’s Day. Nope. A Clark County Commissioner is really serious about turning the Strip into a mall! Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani this week asked fellow commissioners to think about driving cars away from Nevada’s most famous and equally congested roadway.
We all know there’s a desperate need for more pedestrian bridges across the Strip. There are only four at the moment. The presence of so many traffic lights arises in part from the need to get thousands of visitors from one side to the other and this is a major contributor to the traffic jams. So much foot traffic keeps the cars all-too-often at a standstill, something that would be greatly improved by doubling the number of bridges.
Bridges, however, cost money and as the Clark County Commission weighs spending millions of dollars on the new pedestrian bridges over the Las Vegas Strip, Mr. Giunchigliani wants to consider if the Las Vegas Boulevard of the future should be one that’s pedestrian only.
Before you start to rejoice or panic (depending on your view) the Regional Transportation Commission looked at the concept and concluded it wouldn’t recommend transforming the Strip into a pedestrian mall. It found that surrounding streets would likely be unable to cope with the resultant increased traffic and that many casinos would become landlocked as they’re only accessible from the Strip.
“This isn’t a priority, but I do think it needs to be part of the conversation,” Giunchigliani said. “The boulevard belongs to the public, not the casinos.” It seems he is in a group of one. Other commissioners worried that a constant conversation about the possibility of converting the Strip into a pedestrian mall would be like an ongoing threat for the casinos.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the industry to keep this hanging out there,” fellow Commissioner Steve Sisolak said. “I don’t think we can just let it hang forever.”
Commissioner Larry Brown echoed that concern, saying he felt the commission needed to decide if a pedestrianised Strip were something that could happen in the next couple of years or if it’s an idea that needs to be pushed into the future, where there might be better technology to assist with some of the hurdles.
Commissioner Mary Beth Scow said she loved the idea but feared it could create a disparity if some resorts ended up having car access while others did not.
So there you have it, we’re stuck with the jams and the fumes for the foreseeable future but would you really have it any other way?